Competition is a good thing and should not be viewed as a deterrent for you to thrive in a particular industry, the customers problem still exists otherwise there wouldn’t be a industry.
Think of this. If there is no competition, how would you improve or innovate? How would you know if you are providing a good service to your customers?
Lack of competition leads to complacency and poor products and services.
One of the reasons why I started 1800Approved is because of the lack of better options. Individuals and businesses had no choice but to work with banks that charges very high interest rates.
I saw the need and the opportunity so I went in and provided a better option. That is what competition does and that is one of the things that you will learn in this article.
Identify needs and opportunities – Like I said, one of my businesses is brought about by a gap that needs to be filled. No matter how big or saturated an industry might look, there is always a need that is overlooked. Your job is to find it and capture that market.
One of the most effective ways to identify a need is by looking at customer complaints.
Review sites like Productreview, Choice, Yelp, Google, and the likes make this job easier. All you need to do is search for your competitors and look for common complaints that you can capitalize in.
Most of the time, you will find problems with customer service because big businesses tend to neglect this very important factor. They think they are so big that thousands of complaints won’t hurt them.
It probably won’t but it can earn you business.
Identify what works and what doesn’t – A big chunk of your marketing budget is allocated in determining what strategy works and what flops. Instead of experimenting and possibly losing money, observe what your successful competitor does and understand why.
Take social media strategies for example, if your competitor is running contests or giveaways, then get your customers and turn them into raving fans, 1 word of mouth referral is worth 100 giveaway enquiries, but you can’t sell a secret so maybe promote that with a loyalty gift.
Of course, you still need to add your own flavor to make these strategies unique to your business but at least you know that it works.
Learn from them and see how they interact with customers – The internet and social media allows businesses to engage with their customers without having to be physically in the same room. With just a click, you can reach thousands of potential customers, This same technology also allows you to spy on your competition and see how they treat their customers and leads. What could you do better? Tell the world of social Why.
- Follow them on Facebook and engage with their posts.
- Read comments and see how they answer inquiries and complaints.
- If they have a newsletter, subscribe to it and see what emails they send.
- If they have an online process, fill it out and see what the process is like.
Analyse the data and look for areas of improvement. There is always a room for improvement. Good old fashion Service will never die regardless of how digital our world becomes.
Learn to differentiate your products and services – Most of the time, you can’t go head to head with a big company. They can kick you to the curb and their marketing budget is probably bigger than your entire business so finding that angle where you can come in is important, as Verne Harnsih once said (eat the elephant one bite at a time)
Coming back to the finance industry, major players like banks take weeks to process a loan application. With my company, approval and settlment is as fast as 24 hours or even faster given the right documents.
Another good example is a business that customizes products. You take an already popular product, customize it and you’ll attract a different set of customers from the same stack.
Research allows you to have a competitive advantage over your competition and capitalize on areas where you can shine. Look at competitors are your partners because they truly are. You serve the same customers and what works for them will probably work for you too.
Strive to have better products and have a heart to serve and everything will fall into place.